The construction industry is historically late to adopt technologies, but it seems, as of late, that there have been all kinds of amazing technological advances in the industry, making it inevitable that at least a few will stick. While some of these advances are still being tested and evolving, others are slowly starting to infiltrate job sites and make a huge impact, whether it’s labor cost savings, energy savings, time savings, or creates a more sustainable end product.
This infographic below was created by Gutter Masters, an Australian manufacturer and installer of guttering, downpipes, and fascia covers, and gives a great and visual summary of some of the technologies and techniques that you may be seeing on your upcoming job sites.
Below the infographic, you’ll find many articles that we have written about some of these products and other related technological advances. Enjoy!
3D Printing Articles by Construction Junkie
3D printed construction has been on top of the news the past few years, but we have yet to truly see many real world applications of the process. Last year, Dubai unveiled a completed 3D printed office building, which they say was built in only 19 days, but news has been pretty slow until the world’s first 3D printed bridge was completed recently.
Dubai is no stranger to doing historic things in the construction industry, especially since it houses the World’s Tallest Building, the Burj Khalifa. This time, their putting themselves back into the news with the Word’s first completely 3D printed office building.
Up until now everything that has been 3D printed for construction use has been done so in a lab and sent out to a job site and been assembled by humans. The makers of MX3D are on the cutting edge of autonomous 3D printing on location.
3D printing has been around for several years, but, up until recently, it has not infiltrated the construction industry. China has printed a few buildings and a 3D printed house in the Netherlands is currently under construction, as well. Now, the United States is getting into the 3D building mix...
Other Interesting Construction Technological Advances
Arches have been used throughout the centuries, but they have always required large amounts of form work (or a master mason). Now, at least when it comes to tunneling, arches require one of the largest machines in the world. The Zipper truck system, known as Arch Lock, is basically a mobile arch form work that, when used with precast concrete wedges, creates an instantly strong system.
Tablets have been finding their way into construction Project Managers' hands for a while now. With applications like Bluebeam, ProCore, and PunchPro, the use of iPads and tablets have become more common place and necessary. Currently, many Project Managers have a laptop or desktop PC and then carry an iPad for punch list during site visits.
As 3D printed buildings and structures continue to rise in popularity, other on-site robots are hoping to make a name for themselves as well. Long held to being indoors and in controlled environments, robots are now being designed by engineers to endure dynamic situations in the field, to deal with wind movement, bouncing, and other situations.
Hard hats have been around for over a hundred years now, but besides their higher frequency of use, they haven’t changed much. Well, it’s 2015 now and also the year that Back to the Future predicted that we’d be flying around on hover boards, so someone has decided to make something of the dusty, old, worn out hard hat.
There are a ton of tools on any given job site, which makes it close to impossible to be able to monitor where they all are. Not much can hold up job site progress more than rechargeable batteries going missing or not being charged. To solve that issue, tool manufacturing giant Dewalt is soon releasing a line of Bluetooth enabled rechargeable batteries.
If given a choice between being on a roof in the summer or in the middle of a dessert, I’m not sure which one I would choose. Find out what a team of Australian researches have come up with to keep roofs cooler than the hot summer air around them...
Unless you constantly work with 2D drawings, it’s extremely difficult for someone to determine what the final product will look like, which leads to tons of last second changes and a mad dash to finish on time. While Revit’s three and four-dimensional drawings are a step in the right direction, Trimble and Microsoft have an idea to get those models out of the computer and onto the job site.
Back in late 2012, a team of Dutch scientists began work on a new type of concrete additive. All concrete additives modify the physical properties of the concrete in some way, whether by making the concrete harder, set faster, or more resistant to cracking. However, what the Dutch team set out to do was to make a concrete that was "alive;"
With the recent release of Avengers 2, there’s no better time to discuss the world’s first bionic suit made specifically with the construction industry in mind. Unfortunately, unlike the suit Iron Man wears, this one doesn’t allow you to fly or shoot beams out of your hands, but it does show some unbelievable upside for the productivity of a manual laborer.
Remember back to when you were a child, playing on your living room floor with hundreds of multi-colored Legos littering the area around you as you attempted to assemble your dream house. Now, imagine doing that as an adult, but for real. That’s exactly what the inventors of Kite Bricks hope to accomplish.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of a Craftsman portable table saw, sold exclusively by Sears Holdings from April 2014 to October 2016 for around $200. The specific saw was manufactured in China by Rexon Industrial Corp, Ltd. of Taiwan.
Early this year, a landslide caused catastrophic failure to the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge along California’s famous Highway 1. California Transit officials closed the bridge on February 21st and announced it would be demolished and replaced. Time is of the essence as US News reports that over 400 residents are stranded on one side of the bridge and helicopters have had to bring in food for them. The residents are still able to use the footpaths in the area to cross the canyon.
Scissor lifts are on most typical construction job sites and they’re an often overlooked hazard. Too often, liberties are taken with the lifts that create unsafe conditions, which can cause injuries and deaths. OSHA recently released the results of their investigation of 10 fatalities and 20 injuries involving scissor lifts and released their findings in what the organization refers to as a “Hazard Alert.”
3D printing technology faces major issues when it is required to leave the shelter of a warehouse and step foot on a construction job site. 3D printers are extremely large, heavy, and rely on precise calibration for accuracy. Even the first 3D printed office building in Dubai, which was completed last year, had to actually have its components printed off site and assembled on site. But, Apis Cor, a 3D printing company, believes it has created the technology to print a full structure completely on site.
Road construction is rarely an ideal place for many things. It’s unsafe for workers, it causes traffic issues, and nearby businesses can suffer from it. One more thing can be added to the list, as self-driving cars are also having a hard time navigating construction zones, as well.
Atlanta, GA has been busy recently updated their major sports facilities. The new Atlanta Falcon’s new $1.4 Billion football stadium just recently celebrated a milestone as contractors installed the final roof beam. That stadium is scheduled to open before the start of the 2017 NFL season. Before that, however, the Atlanta Braves’ new baseball stadium will officially open in time to kick off the MLB season, which starts on April 2nd.
The concept of solar roadways has been in the news a lot recently. Using the millions of miles of roadways throughout the world to also create power seems like a no brainer, the asphalt and concrete we’re using now aren’t really accomplishing anything more than handling the traffic on the road. But, there’s also a very strong reason why those products are used: they’re strong, reliable, and relatively durable. Still, many researchers believe there is a lot of unharnessed potential for roads and the world now has a very strong test subject for the future of solar roadways in Tourouvre-au-Perche, France.
With Sears and Kmart stores slowly closing across the country, Sears Holdings had to sell off their longtime brand of tools, Craftsman to generate cash flow. The buyer turned out to be Stanley Black & Decker (SBD), who also runs DeWalt, Black + Decker, Porter Cable, Bostitch, and others. Late last week, their deal to purchase the tool icon was officially finalized.
If you’re into heights, then China may be the place you need to be. The country recently unveiled the world’s highest and longest glass bridge and, as scary as many tourists may find that, it was way more dangerous while it was under construction. New footage of another construction site in the Laowang Monutains is giving that bridge a run for it’s money.
In the construction world, 3D printing technology has traditionally focused on buildings and other static structures, like this 3D printed bridge in Madrid, Spain. Not anymore, though, as the world’s first 3D printed excavator was officially unveiled to the attendees at last week’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 in Las Vegas.